TO VERDICT OX INDIA
threaded with* sweet-smelling blossoms of frangipani, their nails
.are painted scarlet. The pilgrims pass by, dusty of foot, hot of
eye, clutching a handful of annas in a twisted rag. They pause
before the girl of their choice.. .often she is a mere child. There
is a muttered conversation, the girl smiles and rises, the pilgrim
follows her in, the door is shut. And the gods are pleased and the
priest gets a rake-off.
Such little cameos of India's 'spirituality* might not be well
received in Milwaukee.
But even if all this is denied, as of course it will be, by Hindu
apologists, they cannot deny the printed evidence of their own
most eminent protagonists. Among the many rejoinders to
Mother India was Father India, by C. S. Ranga Iyer. It contains
so many breath-taking examples of the convolutions of the Hindu
mind that nobody should be allowed to write about India till he
has read it. This is what Mr. Ranga Iyer says about devadasis
on page 51 of his book :
* The idea of allowing the young girls of the prostitute class to
grow up in the atmosphere of the temples is to instil into them
some religion, some fear of God* so that when they come of age
they may not indulge in promiscuity. The prostitutes of India are,
therefore, one of the most god-fearing and loyal class of mistresses
known to that unfortunate profession.'
So what is Hinduism ?
The plain fact of the matter is that no answer can be given to
this question. It is everything.. .and it is nothing.
All that we can say for certain is that in its very early origius it
was a mystical way of life, of exceptional difficulty and extreme
-abstraction, which was celebrated and immortalized in a few
great works of art such as the Gita and the Dpanishads. Owing to
the fact that it possessed no historical authority and no church
this 'religion'—which, in any case, wouTd be totally beyond the
achievement or even the comprehension of any large body of men
—became perverted beyond all recognition; it borrowed here,